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Old 01-24-2013, 08:58 AM   #4
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Re: Unknown autoimmune, nonspecific symptoms? help please!

Hazel, hi & welcome. I had problems that didn't fall into place for decades, then was diagnosed with lupus. But don't be overly alarmed, as you're YOU, and everyone's diagnosis is his/her own only. Anyway... you could familarize yourself with some basic info about autoimmunes, also review your "basics" and "all other".

ANA in autoimmunes. ANA can be positive simply due to a passing virus or infection, also due to familial tendency. I believe 1:80 is considered very low, so doesn't set off alarm bells where no "telling" symptoms are present.

Lupus. Fortunately it's not "inherited" per se. For the basics, you could read the "sticky posts" (permanent info posts) on the lupus board (diagnostic criteria, alternative criteria, symptoms/labs, skin, and reading resources).

Thyroid. I think you're right that thyroid can cause a lot of what you list. But I believe hypothyroidism can come on gradually, forcing many people to be tested repeatedly before the diagnosis can be made. (It took one of my friends 1.5 years.)

Dry skin. I think there are a lot of causes. Have you seen a dermatologist? (I used to battle this every winter & often needed steroid shots to make it stop. I now apply lotion post-shower, use soaps for sensitive skin & dye-free detergent, etc. And wool has always irritated my skin wildly.)

"Basics". By basics I mean basic bloodwork & urinalysis. Have you had these done recently, and did you get copies?

"All other". Mono, flu, Lyme... all sorts of things are possible, unfortunately.

Returning to your original question about "non-specific" problems. My problems were probably more indicative than I realized. Antibiotics gave me convulsions as a child. I reacted wildly to insect bites. A widespread bullous (weepy blistery) rash as a kid. At 13, a year of wicked pain, low-grade fever, elevated ESR, and depressed WBC. Over the years, more stuff (migraines, hair loss, anemia, GI misery, aberrant periods). Last symptoms, an episodic rash that was finally diagnosed by deep-punch biopsy as lupus-specific.

I hope this is more or less what you were after, that others add more, and that you post again soon. I'll say bye for now, with best wishes, Vee